Dear Indie | eBook Formatting Tips & Hacks for Kindle

Hi Indies!

Over the last week, I’ve spent a lot of time researching the best “free” ways to update the formatting for my books. I wasn’t happy with their blahzay interiors–and I also wanted to add content to the Back Matter that I didn’t have before.

I already shared the new chapter graphics in a previous post, but what I really wanted to know was how to use a drop cap that KDP wouldn’t automatically strip out.

There is one surefire way to have drop caps in your Kindle books: Use Kindle Create and sacrifice all control over font styles, graphics, etc. just for a drop cap. If you don’t care how unoriginal your book will look, then KC is a fast, easy approach to formatting your interior.

I do care, and I didn’t want to lose all of the work I’d already put into getting my interior the way I wanted, so I finally accepted that unless you’re good at coding (which, I’m not), there is no easy way to add drop caps for Kindle.

Note: If you are good at coding, then check out Derek Murphy’s video on inserting Drop Caps to Kindle.

I went through eBooks I’ve read by other authors just to get a feel for how they format their interiors. Of course, the best selling authors have professionals doing everything for them, so I skipped those.

Normally, drop caps wouldn’t cross my mind unless I was preparing a paperback file–BUT, when I added these chapter graphics, it didn’t quite look right with an ordinary First Paragraph. Viewing other author’s books that combined a graphic with a drop cap was easier and more pleasing on the eye. Here’s what I was stuck with:

Avarice Unleashed w/New Graphic, No Drop Cap

I soon discovered that wasn’t the only mess my books were in. As you can see in the image above, I was using Times New Roman, Single-Spaced with a jagged right alignment (technically it’s the Left alignment, but you know what I mean). None of the books I read on my Kindle app look like that. What the heck was I thinking?

After diving into more research, here is the best advice I’ve come across for the cleanest, easiest to read combination that Kindle will accept:

  • Georgia Font (12pt. for body)
  • 1.5 line spacing
  • Justified alignment.

It makes a big difference. And maybe I’m the last to learn this, but I’m sharing anyway. I also noticed that no one uses the “link back” to the Table of Contents anymore on their chapter headings–that was an old formatting tip from Smashwords. It’s an outdated practice, so I took all of those out, as well. Here’s what those changes left me with:

New Font, Spacing, & Alignment.

As you can see, those simple changes have already made my book 100% easier to read compared to the first image. Still, I was burning with determination to spice up that first paragraph. I went back to my Kindle and checked out other author’s books again and noticed that some of the ones I “thought” had drop caps really didn’t. It’s actually a simple hack, and this is what it looks like:

New “Fake” Drop Cap

Capitalize each letter for the first 2-3 words, then enlarge the first letter only (I used 24pt.), and select “Bold.” Voila, it has the similar appearance of a drop cap. Unfortunately, this has to be done manually each time, but that’s still a heck of a lot easier than coding. I’ve seen this used even when there isn’t a graphic and it still looks good.

I also noticed a lot of people inserting an image of the first letter for a more genuine drop cap effect, but this requires a lot of tweaking to get the spacing just right, which again takes some ability to mess with the coding, and I just don’t have those skills.

Now, that I finally had everything the way I wanted, all I had to do was upload my updated manuscript to KDP, right? 😐 Since I never had these formatting elements in place before, I’ve always just uploaded a .doc (Word) file. But here’s what Kindle did with that:

Collar Me Foxy .doc file in Kindle Previewer

Yep, it attributed the 24pt. size of that “fake” drop cap to the entire first paragraph’s spacing. And I’m ashamed to admit that I tried fixing the problem in the .doc file for about 30 minutes before remembering that KDP accepts other file types for publishing. Ugh! It was one of those days.

I use Calibre to preview all of my books before publishing because it will convert your .doc or .odt file to any other file extension you want. It’s 100% FREE and easy to use – I highly recommend it.

After messing around with conversions and viewing them on the KDP website, I chose ePub over mobi because it stayed truer to my formatting.

The biggest -ish is mobi’s answer to “justified” alignment, which is to stretch each line from margin-to-margin, resulting in irregular spacing between words. You’ve probably noticed this before in eBooks you’ve read, where random lines will have gaping spaces in between shorter words. It’s glaring, nobody likes it.

Mobi was also shrinking my graphics and/or moving them too far away from the Chapter heading. ePub doesn’t do any of that nonsense, and looks more like the .doc version. Here’s the final result:

ePub file in Kindle Previewer

Perfecto. 🙂

Two valuable pieces of advice to follow when formatting, is: 1) Make sure the layout and font styles match the genre of your book, and 2) Practice the Keep It Simple motto. You want your book to look like it was customized by a pro not Bedazzled by a 5-year-old.

Many best selling authors don’t even use images, or maybe just an ornamental divider, and those look really nice, too. The bottom line is you’re not using these graphics to sell books, that’s your story’s job.

Now, I have noticed a rise in graphics in the Back Matter of both best selling and non-best-selling books, usually for promoting other books, fan pages, and newsletter subscriptions. Again, you don’t want to go crazy, but at least these images aren’t in danger of distracting readers from your story. Here’s a couple of examples:

Promoting Hexed at the end of Avarice Unleashed
Using my Logo on the Newsletter Subscription page

Remember you are a brand name, so don’t feel bad about slapping your logo onto your work. That’s what it’s for.

Okay, that’s all for now, Indies. Hopefully, some of these tips and resource links help out in your writing/publishing journey.

❤ Stay Safe & Healthy!

Dear Indie | Book Editing Software & Sites

Hi, Indies!

Last time, I mentioned that I kind of got scammed by more than just that ridiculous font site – and I did. By Amazon.

I know, shocker.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m just really late to the party…like, there aren’t even Solo cups or streamers left laying around, I’m THAT far behind. But, while I was in my state of madness, determined to make Amazon do what I wanted with my chosen fonts, I came across an option I’d never heard about before: Kindle Create.

And that’s how Amazon scammed me. The website for it promised great things, so I spent hours downloading the software, going through the whole tutorial step-by-step. Anxiously, but patiently waiting for it to get to the part where it would tell me how to make the inside of my book look pretty…and it never did. KC offers 4 Theme choices – all of which went out of style in the ’80s when we were still making Minecraft-worthy pictures in computer lab on boxy old Apple desktops.

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In my continued search, I came across another book editing program provided by Reedsy. Now, if none of you have ever heard of Reedsy before (like me) it’s kind of like a community website where a bunch of professionals hang around waiting for an author to hire them. It’s blatantly focused on connecting writers with editors, cover artists, etc. – HOWEVER – they are also about helping Indies do their own thing for FREE.

One of those ways, is by providing an online book editor that – just like Grammarly Premium – stores your work in a cloud. So, there’s no downloading yet another program onto your already bogged computer and hassling with installation, tutorials, or any of that nonsense. Here’s a look:

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Scrivener users will find the left-hand task bar (indicated by the red arrow) familiar and easy to navigate with the ability to open and collapse the different sections of your book. But, the most “forward thinking” feature this program provides is indicated by the blue arrow. That’s right – online collaboration with your editor! You and your editor can make all the changes to your manuscript right there in one place. No emailing an entire manuscript back and forth, or worrying about conversion issues.

Conversion issues? : I use LibreOffice and my editor uses MS Word, so when we switch back and forth, it sometimes causes glitches in the recorded changes.

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Another similarity to Scrivener is the “Drop and Drag” feature that allows you to rearrange chapters, break your book up into parts, and even change a chapter to a back matter page, as indicated by the red arrow above. For my book showing, this would be a bonus chapter, but you could title it as the Afterward, Epilogue, etc.

Also, the title of the book you’re working on is always in the upper left corner, as shown inside the green circle, so you could have multiple tabs open to multiple projects at the same time without losing track of which one is which.

My favorite feature is the “Other Works” page (showing above) – not only does it allow you to upload book covers, as you see Hexed there, which we all know would grab a reader’s attention faster- but it allows you to include buy links from multiple retail sites all in one nifty little box, as shown with the blue arrow.

Granted, I do mostly KDP Select, but my Permafree book, Collar Me Foxy, is available all over, so this is a great option.

I’m still navigating the editor and will go through the entire process of at least one book to get a better idea about whether or not it’s worth writing there versus LibreOffice or Scrivener. But, I have to say the idea of starting a book in one place and taking it through the entire process without having to move it, is very appealing!

Once your book is 100% ready to launch, you’re supposed to be able to export it right from the editing program to every platform you plan on publishing with.

I’ll write a follow up post once I’ve gone through all of the steps to let you know how it goes. In the meantime, if you’re looking for new ideas &/or resources, Reedsy has a ton of other offers on their site like a Free 10-day publishing course, weekly prompt writing challenge, and check out this handy list of Tools:

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That’s it for now, Indies! As always, feel free to leave a comment, ask questions, or share some of your own experiences below. I’m forever on the lookout for ways to make the writing & self-publishing journey less painful for all of us, so you know I’ll be back as soon as I find more helpful tools or resources.

❤ Happy Sunday! If you’re an #SLS’er – I’ll see you on the flip side! ♫♪♫

Dear Indie | Fonts, Vectors, & Scams, Oh…snap!

Hi Indies! I’m back, and I have links!

In my last post, I touched base on some of the issues we DIY’ers face when working with a small budget and little-to-no experience. Formatting an eBook, which has “Floating Text” vs. formatting a paperback with “Fixed Text” is not only different, but sometimes it can be more difficult. Getting things to stay where you want them isn’t quite as easy when nothing’s pinned down.

But, Let’s Take It Back a Step

Before I was reminded of the whole issue with mobi changing fonts, my plan was to make the interior formatting of my eBook more cohesive with the cover. At first, I thought I could use the same title page I’d created on Canva for my paperbacks and insert it as an image into the document, like so…

Avarice Unleashed Title Page-page-001

Note: Canva only uses ‘free for commercial use’ fonts, so don’t worry about including something you create there in your books. If you’re ever in doubt, you can run a search online to make sure there are no restrictions on the font(s) you used.

The problem with using images happens when converting to a different file type. I not only use Calibre to create my ARC’s in EPUB, PDF & MOBI, but to get a general idea of what my eBook will look like on a Kindle once it’s published. Unfortunately, Calibre detects the title page image as the cover, even when I try to leave the first page blank and insert the image on the second page. That means, I can’t add the real cover without it replacing the title page, altogether.

So, I went in search of the next best thing: Free fonts!

I don’t know about your relationship with search engines, but mine is abysmal at best. I can never conjure the accurate key words to get the results I’m looking for. I’m especially leery about searching for things that will have potentially scammy results. Instead, I always look for articles about the best sites for that particular item. Because, there are a million bloggers who’ve already made that list for me. 😉 (Thanks, bloggers!)

I found an article naming the top free font sites that are not only legit, but specify license use types – This is crucial when dealing with publishing, because just like photographs, anything that is created by someone (a designer/artist/writer) is protected by copyrights and you don’t want to risk backlash of any kind.

Now usually, I end up checking out most, if not all of the sites an article lists–but I fell in love with the very first one I clicked on.

Font Squirrel is 100% legit and they go beyond awesomely user-friendly, right into amazeballs. Most sites will have a list of things you have to click on to find out what kind of license it has–not with this site. They tell you right under the font name with 4 little icons which appear in the order of: a monitor, a globe, a tablet, and a mobile phone.

FontScreenShot

These indicate what kind of license the font provides. If all of them are lit up as you can see in the red circle, then you’re good to go and can use that font everywhere for any reason. But, as shown by the blue circle near the bottom, if only 1 or 2 are lit up then you need to be careful how you use the font. 

For us writers, the icon you want lit up is the tablet – this is the commercial license that allows you to use the font in Ebooks and PDF documents. So, for the example screen shot above, the fonts “Chausson” and “Mondia,” would NOT be permitted in publishing eBooks or PDF files of any kind, but “Go,” and “Be Vietnam” would be allowed.

And when I searched their site for a font they didn’t have, it didn’t just pop up with a “Sorry,” it also gave me this: 

FSSS1Hi, can we get any more user friendly and super helpful than this? I know several sites that should be taking some serious notes here! 

Next, I wanted to find those decorative elements I’ve seen in other books and came across Public Domain Vectors. The absolute best feature this site offers, aside from a massive amount of FREE for commercial use vectors and clipart, is the SVG Editor.

PDSS1PDSS2

An SVG Editor is what you need to convert a Vector file into a Picture file like JPEG or PNG. Without the conversion, you’re not going to be able to use that image anywhere. Every other SVG editor online requires that you sign up, even if it’s free, they won’t let you use it without first becoming a registered member. No, thanks. I don’t plan on converting enough vectors to warrant a ton of spam mail.

The SVG Editor on this site is fast, easy to use, and best of all – doesn’t require a login! 😀

Another good place to search for vectors and clipart is Pixabay. Almost everyone uses Pixabay already for their license-free photos because they’re one of the rare sites that doesn’t require you to attribute/credit or link back to the photographer/designer, and often the site will have items you can’t find anywhere else.

One final mention is a site I would caution you TO AVOID and that is: all-free-download[dot]com. This site and the site it “links” to when you click on an artist’s name – are both 100% SCAMS.

One vector I downloaded, unzipped as an entirely different image altogether, so I went back to the original image on their website and “saved as” then ran a Google Photo search and that same sheet of designs has been circulating as a scam for years AND originated in Asia.

Another Vector file I downloaded and unzipped gave me only an .ai file. The extension .ai stands for and is strictly used with Adobe Illustrator. Now, if you happen to get a LEGITIMATE .ai file, you can convert it easily and for free with an online converter, or even by changing it to a PDF in your own computer and opening it that way. However, these were NOT legit extractions, since the only thing that opened was a warning from Adobe that the file belonged to them.

I ran my C-cleaner & virus software after that to put a stop to any tracker bugs or malware those files likely downloaded onto my computer. People don’t scam you for no reason. So, if they’re not charging money, then they’re probably attacking you through your own computer. It’s best to just avoid that site completely!

In my next post, I’m going to confess to another sort-of scam I fell for and talk about book editing sites/software. 

❤ Does anyone have a tummy ache from eating all that chocolate yesterday? I know, I wish I did, too… 😐 

p.s. If you’ve never installed fonts onto your computer before, I’m excited to say I just learned how to do that, myself. This is only for Windows, though (sorry, Mac users!)

  1. Go to Start Menu
  2. Click on Control Panel
  3. Find the “view by” option on the screen (usually in the top corner)
  4. Choose one of the icon options (large or small) – as this will allow you to see ALL of the folders
  5. Find the “Fonts” folder (it might take a minute or two for your computer to load all of your available fonts.
  6. Drag and drop your new font files anywhere on the screen and it will do the rest for you.

Vjola! Now, when you open your word processing software, those new fonts should be available to you.

#CoverReveal ♥ Hexed (Hell on Earth, Bk 4)

How about a surprise cover reveal? That’s code for: nothing I wanted for the launch of this book has gone according to plan, on top of being super delayed, I now already have the cover up on both Amazon and Goodreads, so…surprise! LOL Eh, we do what we can, right?

The artists over at Deranged Doctor Design have worked their magic again and I’ve been drooling over this bad boy since February! I’m very happy to finally be able to share it with you, even without the usual build up and fireworks. So, whattadaya think?

Hexed is the 4th installment in my Hell on Earth series and will be released on April 17th in both eBook and paperback format on Amazon. It was completely unplanned. I had never intended to give Zoe Bankes her own story, but as readers of Avarice already know, she can be quite loud and demanding persuasive. Make sure to check out the Pre-Order & TBR links below!

BLURB

Zoe Bankes is a paragon of confidence in a pixie-sized package who believes wholeheartedly in the supernatural. Not difficult, considering her best friend’s the new Queen of Avarice. Trusted with Kami and Saph’s demonic secrets is just one more reason why she loves her life. So, when all their happiness is threatened, she’ll do anything to stop it. Even if it means fighting a mysterious and alluring demon she’d rather scrap with in much naughtier ways. But if Hell thinks Zoe Bankes wouldn’t be trouble just because she’s human, it’s about to get a serious wake-up call.

Hex is Pan’s shadow, luring lost boys and girls into his grasp with the premise of granting their greatest desires. For centuries he’s been cursing desperate people by the dozens, never once considering he’d find a human he couldn’t tempt. Until he meets Zoe. Her sharp tongue and quick mind are marvelously riveting, waking things inside him he’d never known. When Wrath decides he wants her, Hex risks it all by abducting her first–upping his number of enemies from one to a Deadly Seven.

On the run from some of the most nefarious Demons of Hell, Hex must convince Zoe of her own danger before he can hope to convince her of their undeniable connection. Disastrous ambushes lead to unexpected allies, as they face down an impossible situation they have little chance of winning. Hex wants Zoe alive, Zoe wants them all free and believes the key to achieving both is buried in Hex’s forgotten past. Unlocking it could mean losing him forever, but when the stakes are raised, they’re left with no other choice. Not even Hell could predict the outcome…nor how happy it would make the Devil, himself.

PRE-ORDER ON AMAZON TODAY!

ADD TO YOUR TBR LIST TODAY!

Have You Given Into Greed Yet? ♥ #Free for a Limited Time Only!

AC MEDOLY, Avarice 2016-322

A  brutal beginning.
An ambitious dream.
One damning submission…

Devils Only.
It was a permanent note-to-self tattooed right above Kameo Kross’s panties, because anything less was a disappointment. Had anyone cared to issue the warning: Be careful what you wish for, she might have thought twice before wording it like an actual invitation.

Kami doesn’t fear pain, death or eternal damnation. She fears only submitting completely. A matter she usually has well in hand… until an unexpected detour into kink and a relentless bastard of a new boss decide to put all of her resistance-and chosen ink-to the trickiest of tests.

Go back to where it all began with Avarice – FREE all this week on Amazon!

(March 5th – March 9th)

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Avarice Collection 🔥 Release Day Blitz!

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Title: Avarice Collection (Hell on Earth 1-3)
Author: A.C. Melody
Genre: Dark Erotic/BDSM/Paranormal

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Devils Only.
It was a permanent note-to-self right above her panties, because anything less was a disappointment. She never meant it as an invitation…

Avarice is what makes the world go round, and Kameo Kross never cared to be an exception to the rule. Her sole ambition is to avoid joining the ranks of New York’s poorest denizens. Between a bastard of a new boss and a Dom who tempts her darkest, depraved needs, Kami reevaluates her goal for sanity’s sake. She doesn’t fear pain, death or eternal damnation, but the idea of submitting completely has her itching to run.

Unforgiving, destiny’s twisted plot thrusts Kami into a world she’d never feared existed, and the crosshairs of an enemy threatening to expose all of her shameful secrets to the media. As her life is completely altered, good versus evil becomes a matter all too personal. Yet, nothing’s more difficult than facing the truths of her heart, and finding the courage to embrace the kind of submission she’s always longed for.

Unleashed in a hailstorm of fury, Hell will come for those seeking glory from Kami’s missteps and she’ll face off with the Devil, himself, to get what she’s finally accepted as hers to have: Happiness. As the calendar races toward Beltane, sordid plots of single-minded obsession and greed continue to thwart their eternal bliss, but the real challenge awaits in the aftermath of retribution. Can Kami and her Master find some semblance of redemption in one another at last, or will the demon within change everything?

Trigger/Content Warning: This collection is Dark, BDSM Paranormal Romance, all references to devils in the blurb are sincere. Possible triggers include but are not limited to demonology, violence, R.A.C.K. (Risk Awareness Consensual Kink), graphic sex and explicit language. Not intended for readers under the age of 18.

PURCHASE

Today is the LAST DAY to get the entire Avarice Collection eBook for only 99¢!

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Amazon AU
Paperback

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His wet fingers abandoned the inside of her throat, cupping the curve of her jaw, and his mouth crushed down on hers.

It was a whole new kind of oral sex. That was the only way to describe the aggressive, needy assault. His tongue thrust as his lips dominated hers harder and greedier, like there was some kind of climax waiting for him at the end. A preview of his skills, or a promise that it would be the only way he would invade her body, no matter which part of himself he was using? Regardless, it was ferocious, filthy, and the best damn kiss Kami had ever experienced.

She could feel his mask bumping alongside her temple, as if he’d turned the bull snout to the side, but that meant his face was still mostly covered. He must not trust the blindfolds. Did that mean he wasn’t planning on removing the mask at all? Kami hoped not. She wanted him to keep it on. That way her imagination could continue filling in the blanks the way she wanted them, rather than chance being disappointed by reality. She didn’t care how damn shallow that made her. This was her night, and it was already panning out better than any Halloween before it, so no. She didn’t want anything to ruin it.

“Mmm, you taste foolishly brave,” he groaned quietly as he licked and nibbled at her lips, diving back in for one last devastating kiss.

Settling back in the seat, he returned the mask to its rightful place and forced her down onto her knees again. His thumb picked up its previous stroking over her lips, but when her bound wrists slid down the hard plane of his stomach and into his lap, there was no mistaking the bulging line of his erection. The feel of it had her lust spreading hotter, dampening her panties with desperate anticipation.

She earned a soft mocking laugh when she started rubbing her arms over the steely line.

“You like knowing what you do to my cock, demon? How hard you make it just by choking on my fingers?” he asked. “Is that what you were hoping to accomplish while you were dancing for me?”

If he was trying to embarrass her with that insight, he was going to be disappointed. Knowing he knew, that he’d been aware, only turned her on more.

“No, but it’s a start,” she replied.

He laughed appreciatively at that, and it was far more sinister than his mocking laugh.

“Ambition and Greed go hand-and-hand, little one. As you said, it’s a start.”

He wanted her to be greedy? He probably shouldn’t have told her that. Before she could reply, the limo slowed to a stop, reigniting the thrill of uncertainty. When the driver opened the door, her bull man climbed out first, then reached inside and hauled her out by the waist.

Once she was on her feet, he grabbed her bound wrists and started leading her across old asphalt. Her heels clicked and wobbled in the rough patches. She thought she heard water lapping and a nearby buoy. It definitely smelled like the docks. The way the noise and voices echoed indicated they were surrounded by warehouses or giant shipping containers.

Again, it should have been a red flag, but Kami wasn’t afraid, only morbidly curious. It took her a moment to realize they were drawing closer to the pulsing bass of music. Her escort paused for a moment before a door opened and it washed over them loud and clear. They stopped directly inside to wait for everyone. When the metal door finally closed, her bull man untied the blindfold.

Blinking in the dimly lit entrance, Kami saw that it was a makeshift foyer with draping velveteen crimson, black-and-white jack-o-lanterns, Gothic candelabras, antiqued mirrors, and other décor that would indicate they were getting ready to enter a vampire’s secret lair. Even the music thumping and crawling over her flesh was more along the lines of Screamo-Goth-Rave, than the Dubstep bass would suggest.

“You know, there are at least a hundred different horror movies that begin this way,” she referred to the space around them by drawing a small square in the air with her index fingers.

A more difficult task than one would think with bound wrists.

“That’s what makes decorating so easy,” he said, pulling her against his body to slip a hand under her skirt and take his fill of her ass cheek. “The question is, was that just an observation or cold feet?”

“My feet never get cold,” she replied.

She barely heard the low rumble of his laugh when he bowed his head right beside her ear. “Careful, demon. Some might take that answer as a deliberate challenge.”

It was a seduction, his mind. The things he picked out of the air, as if her thoughts were broadcasting on wavelengths he could read like a digital marquee. Things that no other man on the planet had ever been able to hear between the lines of her responses before.

“You’re free to take it however you like,” she pointed out, but it wasn’t flippant.

No, it was more like poking the growling lion with a sharp stick just to see what would happen.

“I don’t need you to tell me that, demon. I always take what I want, however I want, whenever I want,” he stated, before lowering his voice even more. “I don’t wait for holidays.”

d443b-author2bbio

A.C. Melody is a hybrid author of Erotic Romance and all its savory sub-genres. Confessed javaholic, introverted geeky girl with a twisted sense of humor and a wretched muse. She has a weakness for hard ass Alphas and the strong women who capture their hearts, without damaging their rough edges.

A lifetime lover of fairytales, myths, legends and ancient pantheons, A.C. spends more time researching than writing. Her biggest goal is to provide new, captivating angles on old, favorite tales with enticing twists and characters that redefine preset expectations.

She’s 100% guilty of placing all her money on the underdogs, anti-heroes and shameless whores. A.C. loves to hear from her readers and can be found at any of the following sites:

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Blog
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The Hot Seat 🔥 Olivia Chandler

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Greetings and welcome to The Hot Seat! This is a program where I get to take our favorite Heroes and Heroines and put them in the hot seat for some much desired insights and a bit of fun trivia. Results are bound to vary!

My guest today is Olivia Chandler from the Women’s Fiction (I would also say Romance): “In the Best Interest of The Child” and the highly anticipated sequel coming soon, “In The Best Interest of The Child: Family Matters” by Felicia Denise.

AC: Thank you for being here today, Olivia, I know you’re a very busy woman.

(Olivia waves)

Let me set the scene here, audience, Miss Chandler doesn’t think she’s the knock out of the courtroom, but I think a certain someone would disagree. At 5’7″, she has light brown eyes, long black hair and loves adding a pop of cheerful color to her business ensembles. It’s royal purple today.

AC: Okay, let’s get started. Olivia can you tell us a little about yourself? Where you’re from and how you ended up in Spring Falls, Minnesota as a child advocate attorney?

OC: I was a foster care kid. My family was in a car accident when I was a kid. My daddy was killed. My mom was, er… well, she was unable to care for me anymore. Having no other family, there was only one place for me to go… hell on earth. As it turns out, there was an inheritance from my daddy when I aged out of the foster care system. I went to college and became a child advocate attorney to keep children from going through the hell I did. (Looks down and lowers her voice) I wish it weren’t the case, but a lot of the abuse and neglect I went through is still with me.

AC: That must’ve been tough, Olivia, I’m sorry. I’m sure that didn’t make it easy to form any kind of relationship. What’s your view on romantic laiasons?

OC: I didn’t believe in them. What was the point? You allow someone into your heart… and they leave. Then I met Bruce. I don’t think that way anymore, but it’s still not easy to let someone in.

AC: Very understandable, but I’m curious, what was your first impression of Bruce?

OC: I thought Bruce was this huge annoying flirt. And adorable!

AC: Do you think Bruce has changed your previous views on relationships then, or confirmed them?

OC: Oh, he’s definitely changed them! I never saw relationships in my future and this big, brawny guy comes along and bumrushes his way into my life. (Flashes a big grin) I’m so glad he did. He’s so loving. Bruce taught me how to love.

AC: (grins right along with Olivia) Yes, he’s quite the charmer! Would you label yourself a social butterfly, family gal, career-oriented or a little of each?

OC: Career-oriented because of what I do. My actions directly impact a child’s future and I do not take that responsibility for granted, so it takes up a lot of my time. But… um, I would like to be a family gal too. I didn’t grow up with family and am lacking in family bonding skills, but Bruce’s gigantic tribe of a family are teaching me.

AC: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

OC: My past.

AC: You strike me as a very driven woman. What would you say your biggest mission or goal is in life?

OC: To keep children in homes where they’re loved and nurtured.

AC: That’s quite a commendable mission to have. If Bruce were sitting here, what do you think he’d say your best quality is and would you agree with him?

OC: He admires my passion for my work and my compassion for those less fortunate. I can’t say if agree or disagree. Would I be the same person without the childhood I had? My ‘qualities’ were shaped by circumstances. Not sure if that counts.

AC: I think it does, but we’ll move onto something a little more fun. Like compatibility in those spicier parts of a relationship. How would you describe your ideal lover?

OC: (grins real big) I had no clue until I met Bruce. I never had true relationships. More like friends-with-benefits and hook-ups. I didn’t allow myself to feel anything for my partners… they weren’t going to be around long enough.

Then… Bellamy. He’s giving… always putting me first. He’s playful, he doesn’t have that macho thing going on. There’s no dominating or submission… just mutual surrender.

AC: If Bruce could seduce you with his culinary skills, what dish would be the one to have you eating out of his hands hands, per se?

OC: Bellamy can make a Chicken Pot Pie that would upset most grandmothers! Light, flaky crust, tender chicken, veggies with just enough crunch. He totally kills it!

AC: (note to self, get recipe from Bruce when he comes in for his interview…) So, do you play any instruments, or sing? What kind of music do you listen to?

OC: I play a little piano and my singing is best left in the shower! I love orchestrations and arrangements – full orchestras and bands… no synthesized music. I like women with power voices like Anita Baker, Freda Payne, Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick, Marilyn McCoo, Melissa Manchester, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Adele, Tamia, Kelly Clarkson and old Mariah Carey. Not a fan of the kittenish, trying-to-stay-young Mariah. (Laughs) And I can tell by your face you’re wondering how I know a few of them, but my parents loved music. The clearest memories I have of our family life is the music.

AC: (smiles brightly) We have that in common. Fans are dying to know: Do you have any hidden tattoos or piercings?

OC: Nope!

AC: What’s the #1 item on your Bucket List?

OC: To drive a race car! And know what? Bellamy used to race cars! I see this happening… if he can get past worrying about me getting hurt.

AC: Now, that would be fun! If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

OC: The Ionian Islands off the coast of Greece. Trust me, I will get there!

AC: Outside of Bruce, who are the most important people in your life?

OC: Willis Benson, executor of my father’s estate, who fought for my inheritance even when he didn’t know where I was and Margot Schultz, my office manager… and friend.

AC: I love Margot. What is your greatest regret?

OC: I’d rather not answer that, AC, if you don’t mind.

AC: Of course not. How about one of your guilty pleasures, instead?

OC: A big pitcher of Cranberry-Lime Mojitos and several hours of black and white movies pre-1960. I love them all – the gangster flicks, war movies, musicals… and the love stories. ‘An Affair to Remember’ is my favorite.

AC: What is the one thing in this world you would never do?

OC: Turn my back on a child. Any child. I know what it feels like to… to feel worthless, unimportant, and unloved. I will never do that to a child.

AC: Are you keeping a secret? Can you share it with us, we won’t tell?

OC: (Laughs) No, I learned my lesson about secrets. But I do believe Bellamy has one. He doesn’t want me to sell my house, but keeps talking about us ‘living together’…so we’ll see.

AC: (tries not to squeal like a fangirl) What would you do to win the heart of Bruce Bellamy?

OC: That’s just it, AC, I didn’t have to do anything. Since the day we met, he’s known who I was inside… even when I didn’t. He said I made his heart restless and hungry. (Grins brightly again) Isn’t that hot? I was damaged and he still wanted me. He once told me love doesn’t heal everything, but it can hold you up while you heal. (Looks down at her hands) I don’t know where I’d be without Bruce. It only took acceptance on my part to get him, but I’d fight the devil himself to keep Bruce.

AC: I’d second that, Miss Chandler, he’s definitely one worth fighting for! (Turns to audience) Thank you for being with us today and if you haven’t grabbed your copy of “In The Best Interest of The Child”, please take the opportunity to do so now with the link below. It’s everything you could hope for in a book and then some; real, emotional, hilarious, charming, heartfelt, steamy and best yet, there’s more to come!

 

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Severely injured in an accident that forever changed her life, 10-year-old Olivia becomes another faceless, underserved child in foster care. With no time to mourn or grieve, the young girl is easy prey for uncaring social workers and ambivalent foster families.

Olivia quickly learns to hold her tongue and mask her emotions. Even when exposed to neglect, bullying, and assault, no one seems to care. Holding fast to the teachings of her late father, Olivia ages out of the system broken, but no longer a victim.

Now a successful child advocate attorney, Olivia is a passionate voice for children. However, a routine case assignment by the court plunges Olivia back into the trauma of her childhood. If she doesn’t face her demons, a child will be sent into foster care, and Olivia will lose the only chance at love she’s ever had…or wanted.

Foster care for her young client is not an option. But Olivia’s emotional scars run even deeper than she realized. Reconciling with her past means Olivia must confront the one woman she blames for her battered soul.

A woman who has no idea who Olivia is.

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The Hot Seat 🔥 Jax

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Greetings and welcome to my very first interview on The Hot Seat! This is a brand new program where I get to take our favorite Heroes and Heroines and put them in the hot seat for some much desired insights and a bit of fun trivia. Results are bound to vary!

My first guest is Jax from the stand-alone, Erotic SciFi Romance: “Hers, Untamed” by Anna Adler.

AC: Thank you for taking time out of your busy, plotting-to-escape, schedule to be with us today, Jax.

(Jax gives me a bland expression.)

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Jax yet, let me give you a visual. He’s a 6’3″ alien-human hybrid with dark brown hair, pale blue reptilian eyes and patches of brown and blue scales on his impressive, muscled arms. (Fans self) Okay, down to business!

AC: Jax, can you tell us a little more about yourself? Where you’re from and how you ended up in your situation?

Jax: Where I’m from? That’s none of your business. And how I ended up in a cage, on a planet colonized by humans who think I’m a sex pet? That’s none of your business, either.

AC: Uh-huh. Well, what’s your view on relationships, then?

Jax: I don’t do relationships.

AC: Apparently, I need to refocus the questions here… Be honest, what was your first impression upon meeting Alyssa?

Jax: Well, she’s hot as hell. A pretty face and curves to die for. I wanted to get my hands on her for sure. But she bought me from a pet training center like a piece of meat, and now I’m stuck in a cage in her apartment.

AC: Would you say Alyssa has changed your previous views on relationships, or confirmed them?

Jax: You call this a relationship? Well, I’ve never been bought before, I can tell you that. I’m wearing a collar and she calls me her pet, and she thinks there’s nothing wrong with that. This messed up situation has nothing to do with any relationship I had in mind. The only good thing about it is that she’s gorgeous and she finds me sexy. I could have some fun with her if only I got rid of this damn collar and got out of the cage.

AC: I’m really sure you could. Are you a social, family guy, workaholic or a little of each?

Jax: I do what I do. ’Nuff said.

AC: (Gives Jax an exasperated look.) If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Jax: I don’t need to fucking change. Okay fine, Alyssa says I should clean up my language. And maybe my manners could use some brushing up. I’ve been alone in space for too long.

AC: You don’t say. What is your favorite and least favorite part of being a human-alien hybrid?

Jax: Favorite part? Just wait until you see what I can do with my tongue. My least favorite part? Every race I’ve encountered considers us hybrids nothing but rejects. I mean, every race outside the Silenian humans that is. Alyssa and her people love hybrids, which is cool. I like that.

AC: If Alyssa was sitting here, what would she say is your best quality, and would you agree with her?

Jax: She seems to think I’m hot because I’m half alien. I’ve got these funny pale eyes with narrow pupils and some reptilian scales on my arms…most people think I’m a mongrel because of it, but Alyssa and the other Silenians are crazy about such things. Go figure. I don’t mind being considered hot. That’s actually great.

AC: Speaking of being hot, can you describe your ideal lover?

Jax: Alyssa. Naked.

AC: (Laughs.) That’s very succinct, Jax, thank you. If the way to a man’s heart really is through his stomach, what dish would lure…er…make you come back for more?

Jax: Not Alyssa’s cooking, that’s for sure. I bet that woman never cooked in her life, so I don’t get why she insists on cooking for me. Healthy food, my ass. If I had any say in this, she would just order me a pizza.

AC: What kind of music do you listen to?

Jax: Anything, as long as it’s loud.

AC: Fans are dying to know: Boxers, briefs or commando?

Jax: Boxers, except that Alyssa’s so eager to get me out of them I don’t know why I bother.

AC: What’s the #1 item on your Bucket List?

Jax: Number one item? Escape Silenia. Number two? I want a woman. Someone who’s all mine and stays mine. I never had that before. Alyssa would do.

AC: If you could travel anywhere in the universe, where would it be?

Jax: I can travel anywhere in the universe. That is, I was able to go anywhere I fucking wanted before Silenian pet hunters caught me and stuck me in a cage.

AC: That didn’t answer the question, Jax, but okay, moving on. Outside of Alyssa, who are the most important people in your life?

Jax: I have a few friends…and friends of friends. But most of the time, I’m on my own.

AC: What is your greatest regret?

Jax: I don’t do regrets.

AC: Name one of your guilty pleasures, then.

Jax: Real meat. None of that soy meat stuff that’s the standard source of protein these days. Even though it’s pretty decent if you know how to cook it. I like real meat, bloody. And cold beer.

AC: What is the one thing in this world you would never do?

Jax: I would never actually hurt Alyssa.

AC: (Refrains from getting sappy.) Are you keeping a secret? You can share it with us, we won’t tell.

Jax: I ain’t answering that. Next question.

AC: Fine, but this is the big one: What would you do to win Alyssa’s heart?

Jax: Hell, there’s a lot I would do for her, if only she’d let me out of the cage. She’s my dream woman, but she needs to learn that keeping people as pets against their will is not right. I don’t care what the Silenian law says.

Well, there you have it readers, straight from the man, himself (despite his reluctance). If you haven’t read Jax and Alyssa’s sizzling SciFi yet – what are you waiting for? It’s PermaFree! Besides, you really should see what the man can do with his tongue…

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Alyssa Cressfield always wanted a pet—a big, sexy man who would look impressive on a leash. Now, she is finally ready to realize her dream. She visits a pet training center, intending to buy a trained pet. Instead she finds Jax, a fierce human-alien hybrid freshly caught from space, still untamed and unbroken. Alyssa has never encountered an untamed pet before. She can’t resist temptation; she must have him.

On Silenia, it is customary for humans to keep other intelligent species as pets and sex toys. Alyssa is kind at heart, but she is a product of her society and therefore sees nothing wrong with keeping a man in a cage against his will. Jax, on the other hand, is a space pirate who now finds himself wearing a collar and being treated like property. He has no intention of turning tame and obedient, and a battle of wills ensues. Jax and Alyssa quickly discover their undeniable chemistry, but is it enough to reconcile them? What happens when the pet breaks out of his cage?

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Stay tuned for more Hot Seat character interviews coming soon!

 

My Review ♥ Free, a novella

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My Review

Title: Free, a novella
Author: Felicia Denise
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Length: Novella
Rating: 5 ‘s

I first started reading “Free” on Felicia Denise’s website and like all of her readers, I was captured, pulled right into the highs and lows of the main character’s story. Lennie and her memories are so real, I felt as if she’d taken me by the hand so I could walk beside her, a silent witness to the ‘walk-through’ of her life. I was so happy when the author decided to turn this into a novella and even more thrilled with the promise for more!

Though shorter than I wanted it to be, don’t let the size of this *Ahem* prequel, fool you. It is cleverly stuffed to the point of overflowing with emotions; good, bad, ugly and joyful. So, stick some Kleenex in your pocket, grab a glass of wine and meet Lennie on the threshold of the Porter House on Linden Lane, because this is not a read. It’s an experience.

Lenore ‘Lennie’ Porter is every woman. She’s not perfect or overly flawed, she’s just human. A loving daughter, supportive wife, successful entrepreneur and dedicated mother. Her story is all about the joys, hardships, tragic loses, mistakes, fears, illnesses, frights and turning points that brought her to the present. Simultaneously, it’s about those little moments within the bigger ones, that become the linchpins of future outcomes. Those moments of regret, revelations, tough choices and self-honesty.

The memories she shares are full of family bonds, endearing friends, and a cowardly bully of a husband. Most revolve around her three sons and range from laugh-out-loud humorous, to heartwarming, to downright heart-wrenching.

I honestly can’t say much more without completely spoiling it, but if you are a reader who enjoys learning all about another’s life through their eyes, then you will love Free! This is not a romance – though, I am really, really hoping that will come next – and it’s certainly not a fairytale. This is one woman’s journey back to self, through the realistic obstacles life throws in her way. Or perhaps, it’s merely the beginning of a discovery of the woman she’s hoping to become…I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

In a final note about this novella, I can’t end without expressing that Felicia Denise’s style is such that even her antagonists don’t get to just exit stage left without evoking some kind of empathy from her readers. To take a clear picture of bad and turn it into something a little more human is sly, underhanded and brilliant. It’s a true talent to nudge the emotional table off center for the reader with such a brief insight. Yet, in less than a page, it happened. You’ll just have to read it to believe me!

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